Rose of Jericho

Anastatica hierochuntica. The original uploader was Nikswieweg at German Wikipedia.(Original text: Klaus Polak) – Originally from de.wikipedia; description page is/was here.(Original text: eigenes Foto), CC BY-SA 2.0 de,

Generations of Christian Pilgrims to the Holy land brought home traditional mementos such as pressed wild flowers from Jerusalem, olive-wood covered Bibles, and a homely little ball of dried-out twigs with miraculous properties—the Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica). The desiccated skeletons of the small desert plant are still sold at souvenir shops in Jerusalem’s Old City and in Bethlehem. The miraculous quality of the Jericho Rose is demonstrated when the plant is immersed in water. Gradually opening before one’s eyes, the plant will extend its branches like a small tree. When the water evaporates, the skeleton will ball up again. Reimmersed in water, the plant will reopen. Because the same reaction can be made to occur over and over again, the plant’s scientific name is anastica (that is, not static). Pilgrims interpret the properties of the Rose of Jericho as being symbolic of the Resurrection; botanists describe the plant as hygrochastic.

Read the rest of The Rose of Jericho online in the Biblical Archaeology Society Library.